=726= Word: Plans

Indeed Lord, our human plans are nothing like your plans.

I have been pondering about how much I have learned and I am amazed that God had done so much for me. I never would have thought that my dream to become a drummer that plays on stage would develop into learning how to be a sound engineer and song writing.

Perhaps I have been dreaming too little.

I sometimes struggle to reconcile that God’s decision is better than mine. I sometimes regret making the wise choices in my life because I see other people having the things I want while neglecting the wisdom in it.

Now that I envy such things, there is a need to stop. Stop regretting in the decisions you have made. God has given you wisdom so why are you complaining? He knows better. He knows that having those things is not going to help you in your walk. Stop. Remember the things He has given you. Remember the troubles that He has gotten you out of. Stop. Trust in the one that knows your heart and your life.

When life don’t go the way you want it to. Remember that you have someone that directs your life. That He knows your heart and loves you.

God loves you. How can you forget?

Why run to things that don’t last when you have someone that will never change?

Be still my heart. God loves you more than you think.

-Kelvin-

=724= Gear I Own: Setup 2019

So yeah, I think I have refined my cymbal set up once again. Now I am pretty happy with how they sound.

So what was wrong with the previous set up? Actually nothing, they sound wonderful! However, as I continued to use them, I realised that the sound of the dreams I own were too dull. It became way too clear after my recording of “I will survive” back in school. Only my splash sounded modern and nice, the rest were so dull and washy.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love washy cymbals. If you ask me bright and clear vs dark and washy, I would choose dark and washy any day! However, it cannot be so dark that in the higher dynamics it still doesn’t cut and give the sound I want with the song!

So I started my journey of refining my set up!

I think before I go into more details with the cymbals, let’s talk about the snare!

The snare is one 13×5.75 Pantheon Custom Birch snare. It is finished in red, with a mag throw off and 3 position butt plate. Beautiful snare! I actually spent quite a bit on this snare! Totally worth it though! The sound is fantastic! It isn’t way too fat like a 14×6.5, yet it still has a lot of body. It has such a focused tone and yet it cuts very well! Such a fantastic snare! I named it May after the main lead in That Girl In Pinafore! Crazy nice!

Now to the cymbals! Left to right!

Hihats: 14 inch Dream Bliss HiHats!
Beautiful hats! If you read the previous gear post, you would know that this hats was a special one. I went through 6-8 different hats. Tried 3 of the same line of hats and finally picked this one. It was the highest pitched one, because I wanted something with more cut and yet because it is bliss, it has that fatness I want from hats. 14 not 15 because I still want my hats to cut and not be dull! I named it Lin Truly from the Taiwan movie Our Times.

Splash: 10 inch Zildjian K Brilliant Splash
I love it that they stopped producing this splash already. This splash is amazing! It cuts so well and yet it isn’t harsh! It is a perfect blend of clarity and tone. This splash inspired me to refine my cymbal sound! You should know how beautiful it sounds! I named it Mary from the movie About Time.

Crash: 17 inch Dream Contact Crash
Meet the latest addition to the family. The main crash has always been my greatest headache. I want it to sound full and pleasing and yet when I reach the higher dynamics I still want it to cut. Previously with my 18 or 20 Dream Vintage Bliss crashes, they don’t achieve that at all! That led me to try quite a few different options. I eve. Thought about getting my old Zildjian 18 thin crash sandblasted to get a more pleasant tone. I know that the industry is going bigger and bigger with cymbals, but I think there is a reason why 16 has been an industry size for so long. However, I don’t really like a 16 crash. Doesn’t feel as good. So I just went back to Musicgear to find another cymbal again. I went through quite a few other crash options and when I struck this crash with my hand, oh my, I was blown away! CRAZY NICE! Not only was it full, it was bright! It was very reactive too! So I may have to restraint myself a little when hitting this, because it cuts so well! Even though it is bright and it cuts, it is still washy enough to sound pleasant! It checked so many boxes, I must have it! Once again, I tried 3 of the same line, only this crash sounded good to me. The rest had really funny frequencies. This particular crash is the most pleasant sounding one! Not only that, this cymbal is a B23 cymbal! WHOOHOO! More Tin in my cymbals please! As a reactive and lively cymbal, I named it Liv after the TV series, IZombie.

Ride Cymbal: 20 inch Pantheon Percussion Apex Prototype ride cymbal
I am not too sure if I ever talked about this ride on this platform before. I was visiting Pantheon Percussion’s workshop over at Aljunied there and I was just trying out some cymbals. When I hit this cymbal, I was interested! I was expecting something totally bright and jarring, but oh no, it was SOOO warm! It was bright, washy and warm! How could it be? Such a perfect ride sound! It is the kind of sound that makes you feel that it is such a heartfelt sound! Extremely beautiful. I think I must have gotten so in love with it that I purchased it on the spot! CRAZY nice! I named it Yafang after the Singapore TV series Crescendo.

Crash cymbal: 18 inch Pantheon Percussion Argent Jazz Trash Crash
This cymbal was actually paired with the prototype when I was there. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it when I first played it, but I really enjoy the tone. During the whole period of finding new crashes, I went through a lot of crash cymbals before finally settling on this crash. When I hit it after playing so many other crashes, I knew that it was what I was looking for. Something trashy and yet light. It slowly became a regular cymbal that I would put on my set, favouring it over the vintage bliss crashes. When I lend it to my friends in church, many told me that they really like this trash crash. I named this Pia, after the female lead in The Three Idiots.

Right now, you are looking at the most refined set of cymbals that I have. Every cymbal fulfils the role that they are supposed to and yet they are specially handpicked to sound great alone as well! I quite like that I don’t have a cymbal from the same line. All cymbals are from different line of cymbals. I guess that is what happens when you use your ears to refine it! You end up with cymbals that are very different and yet works beautifully together!

May these cymbals define the sound of my playing! Thank you Lord for blessing me with beautiful sounding instruments to play!

May I use them for you!

-Kelvin-

=723= Words Of Melancholy: My Soul

Oh my soul, stop this anxiousness now.

Haven’t you been through more? Haven’t you seen that God could do miracles?

Stop looking at the problem and look to God.

Isn’t your God stronger, bigger, mightier than all the opposing forces?

For indeed, when they see the glory of the Lord, they will all cower in fear, begging for their lives.

Stop this wallowing. Stop the self blame. Remember that your worth isn’t in the things you said or the things you have done. Stop this right now Kelvin.

God loves you.

Hold your head up, you are a child of God.

Thank you O Lord, still my heart and my soul.

-Amen-

=722= Word: Character

Something that always reveals character is when something unexpected happens not according to your plan. How you take the news, how you treat the people around you, how you do things, it all really shows.

A typical thing that always happens is this. When a messenger delivers bad news, the common thing to do is to take it out on the messenger, though the messenger was just doing his job. Why is it that we feel the need to take it out on someone, even though the person isn’t involved in anyway whatsoever?

How someone takes responsibility and do work really shows character as well. Let’s say there are two workers, they both do the same admin job.

A does his bare minimum, he takes his time to do work because he doesn’t want his boss to see him not busy. Whenever there is still work unfinished, he doesn’t give a care about it and leaves work without even giving his boss a notice. When he faces trouble that isn’t part of his job scope, he ignores it and leaves. When he gets into trouble due to some mistakes in his work, he pushes the blame to someone else.

B does his best, he tries to get as much done as quickly as possible. Once he is done with work, he submits it to his boss, but because of that, he gets more work than A. He always let his boss know the status of his work before leaving. Giving assurance to the boss that he will be ready by a certain date. Whenever he sees someone needing help, he offers his assistance even at his own cost. Whenever he gets into trouble, B always admits it and promise to do better.

Who would you rather work for you if you were the boss? The answer is pretty clear.

Sometimes it really isn’t about the rank or appointment you are at. Sometimes character outshines the role we play. We may be the lowest of the lows in terms of rank, perhaps we are the interns of a company, but that doesn’t mean that we have to give our lowest quality of work. A gem needs to be refined, don’t expect to get there without some elbow grease.

In fact, I think everyone should try and do a manual labour job, just to treasure what they have.

May our character outshine the role we play!

-Kelvin-

=721= Word: Good Music

I have been listening to my new Beatles album, “1” the 2015 remixed version and I am so thankful! I bought a few Beatles album in Vietnam the last time I was there and their mixing was REALLY hard to listen to. To be fair, they were the pioneers of stereo music, it is fair for their tracks to be a little strange for our time.

The 2015 remixed version was a needed version though! HAHA! Bless Giles Martin for remixing the tracks! They really sound very nice!

It really kind of gotten me thinking about what exactly is good music and playing?

Ringo Starr, the drummer of the Beatles, doesn’t have the best technique as a drummer, bit he is the drummer for the biggest rock band of his time. If you have an educator watch him play, there will be several things that he would immediately correct, for example, the way he leads with his left hand and as a result cannot play fills in a certain way or accurately you may say. However, it is the way he played those left hand led fills that he had his own sound!

Charlie Watts, the drummer of the Rolling Stones, certainly doesn’t have the best technique either! He would lift up his right hand whenever he hits the backbeat. If an educator saw that, he confirm tell the student that he is doing that and should stop. However, him doing that became a thing and some engineers actually like that!

As a drummer, we set the time and control dynamics, but I think we also set the vibe and direction. When we play a fill, the more experienced we are, the more likely that the fill will sound good, expressing the emotion that we want to. I think Ringo and Charlie were people that were masters of setting the vibe.

Isn’t it sad that even though music is getting better sounding, we are experimenting less?

I hear the songs that the Beatles play and I get a bit thrown off sometimes with their funky stuff, but it is stuff that is really challenging and musical!

I hope that as I grow as a musician, I will continue to discover and try new things! May I never stop exploring!

Thank you so much Lord!

-Kelvin-

=720= Word: Blame

Blame shifting has been a thing since Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.

I truly wonder if God will react differently if Adam and Eve had not blamed someone else and simply confess to God that they had done wrong.

I wonder when will a person stop blaming someone else and realises one’s own sin?

Perhaps when accused of something, one would push it quickly so that one will not be in trouble, but really?

No one wants to be responsible and it is sad. “I can’t make this decision.”

“It isn’t up to me.”

I wonder when will someone just finally step in and say, “I will do it, I will be responsible.”

Truly, the man that steps up is a way bigger man than the one that seems big but doesn’t want to be responsible for trouble.

How sad indeed.

-Kelvin-